A dental association has called on the GDC to provide ‘robust assurances’ after it admitted to acting unlawfully.
This week it was revealed that the General Dental Council (GDC) acted unlawfully by using undercover operations without reasonable justification.
The dental regulator owned up to the wrongdoing after paying an undisclosed sum of damages to a clinical dental technician.
Now, the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has spoken out, referring to the incident as undermining GDC reputation.
Dubbing it an ‘egregious act’, the association is calling for changes if the regulator is to ‘regain any credibility’.
The incident involved a technician who was the subject of an anonymous complaint that he may be working without registration.
The GDC then instructed an under-guise operation. This involved two private investigators posing as relatives of ‘Evelyn’, an elderly relative needing dentures but too ill to attend in person.
In a letter sent to the GDC, the BAPD wrote: ‘To further add insult to injury, registrant’s monies will have presumably been used to pay the damages in this case.
‘In our opinion, this is certainly not an appropriate use of registrant’s funds. It will come as no surprise to the profession that we find the situation totally hypocritical. Given that if a registrant were to have acted in a similar manner to break the law, then their very career in the profession would likely be ended by the GDC.’
It calls for a number of changes, including:
- For the GDC to be completely transparent in the aftermath of this case. To clearly make public to the profession what action has been taken to remedy this latest failing
- For this to include as a minimum what disciplinary action has been taken against those who have acted in such a manner as to bring the professional regulator into disrepute
- Details of what action will be taken to reclaim the monies that have been spent on defending this case. As well as the money spent paying the damages from those who have acted appallingly in this instance
- Robust assurances that the GDC will act to deal with the increasing risk of direct to public supply of orthodontic treatment.
Dental Protection also spoke out, stating the situation raises ‘strong concerns’ for GDC registrants.
Raj Rattan is dental director at Dental Protection. He said: ‘Dental professionals should be confident that any investigation into them is based on their real-life practice and interactions with others.
‘Not on concocted situations with operatives actively seeking to gather evidence to use against them.’
General Dental Council executive director, fitness to practise, John Cullinane, responded to the case.
‘The General Dental Council has used undercover investigators in fitness to practise cases extremely rarely,’ he said.
‘Where there is potential risk to the public, and where there is no other way to investigate a specific allegation that has been made, we will consider use of undercover approaches.
‘A robust process is in place to assess risk to public health, safety and wellbeing. This is designed to balance public protection with the rights of the individuals concerned.
‘We take this responsibility extremely seriously.’
You can read the full letter here.
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